Greenbrier High School basketball fans were in a frenzy Saturday night, and the ruckus revolved around one resounding dunk.
The Wolfpack was in the process of polishing off Lakeside High School when Richard Burke and Tommy McKinney combined to put a finishing touch on the 56-46 win at the Brierpatch.
Burke was on a breakaway, but he pulled up and lofted the ball to the far side of the rim - McKinney was there waiting, and capped the alley-oop play with a monster slam.
A delirious response from the capacity crowd ensued; Pack coach Danny Black was on his feet for another reason.
"I was screaming because I didn't know that was coming. I didn't know where he was throwing the ball," Black said of the Burke-to-McKinney play.
Lately, Greenbrier has made a habit of doing the unexpected.
After a 1-6 start to the 2001-02 season, the Pack won the Columbia County Christmas Tournament. Greenbrier began the new year by beating Burke County, then lost in overtime to Josey last week.
The Pack suffered another setback against Butler Friday night, but salvaged the week with the win over Region 3-AAAA rival Lakeside.
"The kids responded real well tonight. They were ready to play. I think their confidence level is pretty good right now," Black said after his team had posted a second-straight win over the Panthers.
Greenbrier previously had beaten the Panthers in the Christmas Tournament championship game, but in the rematch Saturday, Lakeside looked ready for revenge.
Matt Josephson connected from the outside, then powered in the paint for a three-point play which sparked Lakeside to a 5-0 lead. Guard Aris Verrett followed with a steal and score to make it 7-0.
"Lakeside came out with some intensity and played us pretty tough defensively," Black said.
When the Pack got on the board, Lakeside's troubles began - Eric Marshall stormed in for dunk to set the tone for Greenbrier's 22-21 lead at the half.
The Panthers committed two turnovers to start the third quarter, and Greenbrier did the rest - the Pack hit 6 of 8 shots from two-point range in the third, while Burke and McKinney each added a 3-point shot.
Marshall closed the third with a buzzer-beater from the top of the key to give Greenbrier a 43-32 advantage. Brandon Dotson went 4 for 4 at the free throw line in the fourth to help the Pack ice the game.
"Defensively, I thought we did a good job. We knew Matt Scott could light it up at any time, so we pressured him, and Josephson is a real good driver to the basket, and we tried to take that away from them," Black said.
Greenbrier's defense sealed off passing lanes inside, and on offense, Marshall (16 points) and McKinney (game-high 20 points) did most of the damage.
Said Black: "We wanted to get the ball in Eric's hands and Tommy's hands, and let them try to make something happen, and they did."
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